"Hide your sanitary pads"
"Don’t you remember you can’t enter the kitchen today?"
"Oh god, stains. Disgusting."
The answer is right here and it is also why this conversation is important. Menstruation was considered taboo in almost all families. And, while we’ve come really far, there is still a lot of shame and guilt around it. Initially, women weren’t allowed to discuss struggles, or even talk about their periods, especially in front of men. Hiding sanitary pads, being shamed for stains, being exempted from kitchens and temples are just a few among many things they were asked to do, without an explanation. "Menstruation is a women’s thing. Why include men?" was simply passed on to each generation. Initially, no one questioned it because they weren’t given the chance to think they could. And, slowly, the taboo around menstruation became stronger; the fear of being judged by men became stronger. Women were even taught that menstruation was disgusting and grew up without ever having a healthy conversation about it.
However, the narrative changed when women got educated, began speaking up, asking questions, and making a change. We haven’t achieved it all, but we’ve come far. There’s a collective effort towards destigmatising menstruation and helping women be comfortable with it.
Why should men buy sanitary products?
Men buying sanitary pads is more symbolic than necessary. It’s about normalising periods, and accepting that it’s a natural process. It also doesn’t have to be a rule that only men should buy these products. It is simply about being able to walk in a store and buy a pad when necessary. It’s about creating an environment where menstruation is just what it is - A NATURAL PROCESS.
Men, do you feel uncomfortable while shopping for pads?
If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable at the thought of entering a store to buy menstrual products, then that’s something to think about. Remember that this isn’t your fault, and you can change it. Here are two things you need to adapt:
- Forget everything you know about periods, and start over. Educating yourself about it will help you perceive things differently. Go on the internet or talk to a woman you’re comfortable with.
- Start small. Walk into a store and buy a pad or tampon if needed. In fact, you can go the extra mile and stash a few tampons or pads in case someone around you needs it.
It might seem like a lot, especially if you’ve grown up in a family where these things were hushed. But, you’re constantly surrounded by amazing women, so it’s worth a try.
The blog idea is written by Swathi Srinivasan.